The Red Sox’ lead in the AL East is dwindling. Boston gave back two games in the division over the weekend after losing all three games at Fenway Park against Baltimore and New York beating Seattle in two out of three in the Bronx.
The last time the Red Sox won was four games ago, last Wednesday in Cleveland, when Drew Pomeranz shut the Indians out over 5.1 innings in a 6–1 win. Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez and Doug Fister all failed to pitch their team to a win since then.
So here we are, back at Pomeranz as the Red Sox get set to begin an AL East road trip that starts in Toronto and ends in New York this weekend. They are small underdogs against Marcus Stroman and the spoil-hungry Blue Jays.
Before Eduardo Nunez came over in a deadline deal and then Rafael Devers came up from the minor leagues to inject some energy into the Sox’ offense, it was bordering on disastrous. Those guys have played over their heads all month but that is starting to wane and Boston’s offense is again struggling. Dustin Pedroia is still out and Jackie Bradley Jr. remains out of the lineup after injuring his hand on a slide last week.
All of that has Boston spinning back into the struggles that plagued them throughout July. The Sox scored just four runs in three games against Baltimore over the weekend and will now see Marcus Stroman in Toronto on Monday.
Stroman’s numbers are similar to Pomeranz’s — their ERAs are separated by one one-hundredth of a run and their WHIPs by three one-hundredths. Opponents are hitting a little worse against Pomeranz, based on batting average, but he’s also walked one more batter than Stroman has in nearly 30 fewer innings.
Those innings also separate the two. Stroman routinely goes deeper into games than Pom, who needed 103 pitches to get 16 outs in his last start despite giving up just two hits. Boston’s bullpen got some fair usage this weekend and it will likely have to get double-digit outs again tonight. Pomeranz has gone at least six innings in both of his starts against the Blue Jays but this will be his third start against them in the last two months. That might not sound like a whole lot but there will be some familiarity the third time around for the Jays.
It won’t matter much if Boston’s offense can’t scratch across more than a run or two, which is what I expect it to fail to do once again on Monday night. It’s a streaky team and an especially streaky offense. The Sox might have to wait for the return of their captain and man in center field before the offense gets out of this rut this time around.
Free Pick: Blue Jays (-115)